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"Some say Google is God. Others say Google is Satan. But if they think Google
is too powerful, remember that with search engines unlike other companies, all it takes is a single click to go to another
November 06 Topics
"The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom."
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"To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid.
You must also be well-mannered."
November 06 Topics
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This newsletter has been produced to help you
get the most out of the Internet,
Welcome to the latest Actrix customer newsletter.
With this issue, the Actrix newsletter has completed seven years straight running, and over that time it has passed through several incarnations. It's not a seven year itch or anything, but we've been thinking that it was about time it was given its own new name.
All entries will go into the draw to win a $100 Christmas hamper from New World supermarket.
We like competitions, and the feedback they generate, and we like giving things away (a little bit), so we're opening the matter up for your ideas. Send us in your suggested name(s) for the newsletter. If we choose your name, we'll give you a New World Christmas hamper worth $150 and six months free Internet on your current plan.
All entries will go into the draw to win a $100 Christmas hamper from New World supermarket. That lucky winner drawn will receive the hamper (delivered) whether we use their suggested name or not.
The only proviso is that the newsletter name you suggest must also include the word Actrix; e.g. The Actrix Internet Noiseletter, or the Actrix Online Courier, or whatever.
Actrix staff are not eligible to win prizes, so they may have to get their mates to enter on their behalf. Those without mates will have to make them up.
Send your suggestions in to me at email@example.com. Winners will be contacted by e-mail and their names will be announced in the next newsletter.
Digital cameras and photo-capable mobiles are great. They've freed us from the constraints of our old 35mm film cameras. We no longer have to carefully ration our 24 shots or put up with having to wait for the inevitable disappointment once we get our photos back from the developer. And they've also made it really easy for us to share the photos we've taken; either by putting them online, or by sending them to friends via e-mail.
The problem is that when we upload the photos from our camera to our PC, they're often quite large in terms of file size, and this makes sharing them via the Internet a bit of a problem. If you're sharing photos by e-mail or by putting them on the web, reducing their file size is really important. No one using a dialup modem will thank you for sending them massive images that will clog their e-mail download for hours, and anyone looking at your photos online will want them to appear on the screen quickly.
It's true, you can usually set your digital camera to take lower quality photos that don't take up so much disk space, but that isn't really recommended. You want your originals to stay crisp and clear and high-quality. The software that came with your camera (that you use to upload the photos to your PC) may have some editing features. If it does, search the help menu for things like compression or sending your photos by e-mail. These topics may well cover how to compress and save copies of your originals for online sharing. But there are other ways of reducing files size, even if you don't have much in the way of special software.
Two ways to reduce file size
Keep in mind there are two types of size reduction to think about. The first is reducing the height and width of your photo. Reducing it from 1500 pixels wide to 500 pixels wide, for example, will make it a smaller picture as well as a smaller file. Reducing the file size, on the other hand refers to reducing how much room it takes up on your hard drive in terms of kilobytes. Two ways of reducing the file size of a photo are firstly reducing its height and width as just mentioned, and secondly, compressing it. Compressing a photo removes some of the file's information. If you compress it too much you will get a fuzzy result, so you're looking for a trade-off - maximum compression with minimum quality loss. Most photos can be compressed by 20-30% without losing too much in quality, but you should probably experiment a little as you go.
Always use "Save As…" when saving a photo you've edited or compressed, and save it with a different name. This will leave the original higher-quality photo intact in case you're not happy with the edited version and can't undo your changes. You can usually find “Save As…” under the File menu of most of the programs you might use to edit photos. If you're just planning on looking at the photos on your own PC, there's no need to compress them, and they're best left at high quality.
Compressing with Microsoft tools
If you have a reasonably recent version of Office installed on your PC, you'll also have either Microsoft Photo Editor or Microsoft Office Picture Manager (Office 2003 and later). If you have one of these programs, you'll be able to find it by clicking the Start button, then selecting Programs, then Microsoft Office, then Microsoft Office Tools.
These programs are able to search your computer for photos, and will display them for you, including lots of forgotten stuff that may have been languishing on your hard drive for months or even years. These programs feature a small set of tools that can help edit, crop and resize your photos as well as compress them.
Microsoft Office Picture Manager
Once you've opened this program, you can use the folder list on the left to browse to the folder containing the photos you want to work with or share. Select a photo by clicking on it, and then click on the Edit Pictures button at the top of the screen. A menu will appear on the right that contains a number of tools including crop, rotate and redeye removal. The most useful feature of all is the Compress Pictures tool (JPEG Quality factor in Photo Editor) which can be used to reduce the file size of your photo. There's also a re-size feature which will allow you to reduce the height and width of your photos before you compress them, further helping to reduce file size. If you're sending them by e-mail or putting them on the web, you want to try to get each photo down to between 20 and 40 kilobytes in size.
Picture Manager also comes with an "Email pictures" feature on its main menu (right hand side when you first open the program). Select a photo (or ctrl-click to select more than one) and then click this feature. Picture Manager will allow you to choose from a number of different sizes (postcard size is probably about right) and whether you want them displayed in or attached to a message. Click Create Message and an e-mail will automatically open with the compressed photos attached. Pretty darn handy!
Plenty of free online tutorials are available for both Microsoft Picture Manager and Photo Editor. A couple of examples are:
If you don't like these ones, a Google search will bring up plenty more for you.
If you don't have Office installed, you can use Paint to at least reduce the height and width of your images, or crop out the part of an image you want to save.. Paint also has some very basic editing tools. Paint is a standard part of Windows and can be found under Programs/Accessories.
Click File and then Open to load up an image to work with. The very basic set of tools is over on the left. Paint will allow you to do lots of manual editing with pencils and airbrushes, but if you just want to reduce the height and width of your image, Choose Stretch/Skew under the Image menu. Change the height and width settings from 100% to 50% for example. Remember to use "Save As…" under the File menu to keep your edited version separate from the original.
A reasonably straightforward Paint tutorial can be found at http://lkwdpl.org/classes/MSPaint/paint.html.
Once you've edited photos and gotten them ready, make sure you save them somewhere you'll be able to find them so that you can manually attach them to an e-mail or upload them to your web space if you need to later. To send a photo manually by e-mail, just open a fresh e-mail and click the little paper-clip icon. This will allow you to browse to and select the photo (or any other file) you want to send by e-mail. You can add as many attachments to an e-mail as you like, but just keep in mind that your poor recipient may struggle to download the e-mail if you load too many.
Editing with Picasa
Picasa (http://picasa.google.com/) is a free 4.5 Megabyte download from Google. It provides fun, easy and powerful ways to sort and edit your photos. It searches your entire hard drive and presents every image you have in a time ordered library of directories. This saves you having to spend hours trying to remember where you put older pictures, and you will probably be surprised at how much you've forgotten you had. The timeline feature is especially funky, presenting your image folders to you via a rotating 3D interface.
Picasa's main purpose is to help you sort your photos and it is great for that. You can simply drag photos to your desired folders and right-click to rename them or move them to a new folder, but that's just the beginning. You can also assign labels to individual images for further sorting. These work like hidden post it notes which will remind you later on about what your intentions were for that photo. The star feature lets you mark a photo so that you can come back to it later.
You can also view a slideshow of a folder's contents, or burn a folder of photos to a Gift CD. Double-click an image to open the editing tools which include redeye removal, rotation, cropping, sharpening and even a one-click auto-fix for lighting and colour.
The Export feature allows you to reduce the file size of a photo as you move it to another folder (ideal for getting photos ready for the web), and Picasa will even automatically compress a photo and attach it to an outgoing email with just a single mouse-click. Just select the photo and click the Email button.
One downside is that Picasa's help is all online, which is a bit of a nuisance for dialup users, but it isn't a feature you're going to need very often. Picasa is intuitive and interesting to use. It's hard to find free software as good as this.
Getting your photos online
Flickr is one of the latest of many online communities. Joining is free, and you can log straight in using your Yahoo ID if you have one. If not, creating an account is easy enough.
There's no limit on how many photos you can upload to Flickr, so long as you don't exceed 20 megabytes per month. This is plenty if you compress your photos before uploading them, and you can upgrade to a pro account with a 2 Gigabyte monthly allowance for $US 24.95 per year. For most of us, this won't be at all necessary.
Once your photos are uploaded the Organizr tool can be used to organise them in all sorts of ways. You can group your photos into sets that can be viewed as a slide show, or you can just leave them as individual pictures, with a short paragraph of comment or explanation. The map feature is excellent for showing off just how well-travelled you are. You can drag your photos onto a map of the world so everyone can see at a glance just where you were when you took them.
You can set privacy levels for individual photos or sets if you just want to share them with designated friends, or you can go the whole hog and join special interest groups to share your photos with people of like mind.
Browsing other people's photos or searching by key word is a good way to get an idea of what others have done with their photos at Flickr. You can comment on the photos that others have uploaded, or respond to comments that have been made about yours. If you like the idea of the world seeing your photos, leave good descriptions and tags with them so that they are more likely to be picked up in searches.
But you don't have to have an account to look at other people's photos. Even if you don't want to join, there's still a lot to see at Flickr. With literally millions of photos online, you're bound to find a wealth of pictures on just about any topic.
A lot of people have mentioned (both to me and to our support crew) that they've noticed quite an increase in the volume of spam they've received over the last month or two.
Unfortunately this is a result of increasingly sophisticated techniques on the part of the spammers that are enabling them to send more spam, and spam that is a lot harder to filter. I've included a pie graph representing statistics for the last 40 million e-mails that have passed through our mail servers. The figures show that our filters are still doing an admirable job and that 50% of the e-mail they handle is filtered off as spam.
You can see from this that spam is a considerable and costly nuisance for ISPs as well. In the early days of the Internet, nobody really visualised that mail servers would actually spend more time dealing with illegitimate e-mail than they do dealing with legitimate e-mail. Every e-mail has to be "examined" by the filters (and remember they can't actually read) and assessed for spammish likelihood, and the filters need continual updating, tweaking and maintenance.
So why aren't the filters getting it all?
One of the reasons just relates to percentages. The Pump and Dump Spam Scam covered in last month's newsletter is really popular with spammers at the moment. It must be working well for them so they're really putting the stock-market spam out in bulk. There will always be a percentage that sneaks through, and the more spam sent, the greater number that make it to the customer.
But there are other reasons. Spam filters work on a number of criteria when assessing an e-mail, but the two main criteria are the words it contains and the server or computer it originates from.
When assessing the words, the filters look for known spam words such as v1agra, VVagra, Pens enlargement, pen1s enlargement and so on (and there are thousands of such terms they constantly have to learn about). The higher the ratio of these words to other words, then the more likely the e-mail is to be spam. But of course, the filters can't just kill an e-mail because it contains one of these terms. It is quite possible to imagine that a word such as Viagra could be used in legitimate e-mails, and the ISP really has to be careful that it doesn't let the filters go too far and start deleting real e-mails.
Wise to this, you will notice that spammers often add a few paragraphs of legitimate text to the bottom of their e-mails. Usually this is an excerpt from a book or something, or could just be random words. The filters can see a whole lot of legitimate words, and they tend to err on the side of caution and let such an e-mail through. Because they can't actually read the words and make sense of them, or make judgements like a human brain can, they are pretty easy to fool in this regard.
A second thing spammers do to avoid being caught with their words is use an image. They type out a message and then use a graphics tool to take an image of what they have written. By sending the image instead of the actual text, they evade the filter's ability to assess words. The filters see an image, but have no way of telling that it is a picture of spam text.
While their owners are happily surfing the net or sending e-mails to the grandkids, they don't realise that someone else is using their machine to send millions of spam e-mails out via a back door.
Spammers are also very clever at hiding where an e-mail has come from. There are lots of servers around the world that are known for being spam gateways. If an e-mail arrives from such a server, it is usually successfully filtered off. However, most spam these days actually comes from what are known as botnets; sort of short for "robot networks". A botnet is a group of computers that have been compromised and are under somebody else's control without their owners realising it. These machines are also known as zombies. Somehow, someone has snuck a program known as a trojan onto them that allows somebody else to connect and use them. While their owners are happily surfing the net or sending e-mails to the grandkids, they don't realise that someone else is using their machine to send millions of spam e-mails out via a back door. There are literally millions of zombies in thousands of botnets. Many would be here in New Zealand, and some may even be Actrix customers. Anyone not using up-to-date anti-virus software to regularly scan their own computers should! There's a good explanation of botnets at the Wkipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botnet.
Anyway, because so much spam is actually coming from personal PCs all over the place, it becomes very hard to filter it according to its place of origin.
As stated, spam filters are programmed to learn, and our technicians are continually adding new rules and knowledge to them. But it's always a game of catch-up, and spam volumes will always ebb and flow as a result of this. The sad news is that spam is here to stay. The Internet is a wonderful thing, and spam is just one of its cost factors.
Please don't ever respond to a spam message, even if you're invited to unsubscribe from their mailing list. All this does is confirm to them that you have a working e-mail address, and you're more likely to be added to lists of e-mail addresses that spammers buy, sell and swap with each other. The net result of that is just more spam, of course.
And of course, don't ever buy anything or follow any instructions in a spam e-mail. The only hope we have of spam ever declining is if it didn't work. If just half a percent of the people that receive spam respond to it or purchase as a result of it, then there's money to be made and it will continue. Unfortunately, because trillions of spam e-mails are being sent out, enough clueless net-users can be found who will make it worth their while. Please don't be one of them.
Lastly, please be assured that spam e-mails are not viruses in and of themselves, and just because you're getting a lot of them lately, that doesn't mean that you've done something wrong, or that your computer is part of a botnet. Never click links in spam e-mails though. These can take you to places where they may be malicious programs behind web pages that might seek to slip a trojan onto your machine.
I've had a number of people inquire over the last couple of months about why they are getting spam that appears not to be addressed to them. Quite commonly, a spam e-mail will turn up that appears to have been sent to an e-mail address that is very similar to theirs, and the logical conclusion is that something has gone wrong and the e-mail has been wrongly delivered.
In fact it is very rare for e-mail to get wrongly delivered. Rules on mail servers just don't let it happen. The truth is that the e-mail has indeed been addressed to them, but their e-mail address has been included in the BCC (blind circulating copy) field.
When you send an e-mail you'll notice that there is a 'To' field into which you would normally type your recipient's address. You'll also notice that there is a CC (circulating copy) field so that you can 'copy' the e-mail to another recipient at the same time. Recipients who are in the CC field can see that when the e-mail arrives for them.
There is however, a third field that can be used to send e-mail; the BCC (blind circulating copy) field. The BCC field is designed to allow you to copy someone in on an e-mail, but not allow the other recipients (those in the 'To' or 'CC' fields) to know that they've been copied in. In the picture above, I would be sending an e-mail to Dave, and wanting Matt to know about that e-mail, but I don't want Dave to know that I'm letting Matt in our correspondence. Why I'm doing that is really between me and Matt, so please don't tell Dave.
Getting back to the picture (and the topic), I am sending an e-mail to Dave, Rob and Matt. When that e-mail turns up for Dave, he will be able to see that the e-mail was addressed to him and that Rob has been copied in. He won't see any reference to Matt at all, and won't know that Matt has also received a copy of the e-mail. When Rob receives it, he will see that it was addressed to Dave, but he won't think it's been wrongly delivered, because he will see his own e-mail address in the CC field. Rob won't see any reference to Matt though, and also won't know that Matt has received the e-mail.
Matt will receive the e-mail and see that it's been addressed to Dave and copied to Rob. But he also won't see any reference to himself in the address fields of the e-mail. Because he knows about BCC fields, and he knows that we're sort of checking up on Dave, he will understand what's going on. If he didn't, it would be logical for him to assume the e-mail has been wrongly delivered to him.
This is what has happened when e-mail spam turns up for you and you can't see any reference to your own e-mail address. It is quite common for some ISPs and servers not to allow too many recipients in any one field, so the spammer puts (for example) 10 in the 'To' field, 10 in the 'CC' field and 10 in the 'BCC' field. That way he or she still gets to send the same spam to 30 different addresses.
Because he or she is often working through an alphabetical list of addresses, the ones appearing together often appear similar, and this makes it seem even more like it's a mail delivery error. For example, if firstname.lastname@example.org was in the 'To' field and email@example.com was in the 'BCC' field, poor troutbait might mistakenly conclude that an e-mail for trout had been wrongly delivered to him.
So, that explains things, hopefully.
Some may be wondering where the BCC field is. By default it doesn't appear in Outlook Express. If you would like to BCC someone in on an e-mail, open a fresh one in Outlook Express. Click 'View' at the top of the new e-mail and click to put a tick next to 'All headers'. The BCC field should now appear.
Be careful, though, if you're being sneaky. It is considered rude to the recipient to have others seeing your correspondence to them without them knowing, and the results can be disastrous if you get found out because you've gotten mixed up and CCed or BCCed the wrong people!
If you'd like to ask a question or request some help on any Actrix or Internet-related matter. Simply send me an e-mail with the word "Forum" in the subject line. I'll try and get an answer to you by return e-mail, and will also post the answer here for the benefit of others who may have a similar question or problem. By the same token, if you read something here and think you may have something to suggest, please feel more than free. Please also note that questions and answers may also turn up under the Helpful Tips section on the Actrix home page (www.actrix.co.nz).
Last month Norm asked about strange e-mail behaviour including sometimes having e-mails go straight to the Deleted Items folder. Patricia sent in the following helpful comment:
Re Norm's question about inward mail going straight to the deleted box - this will happen if mail comes from an sender that has been blocked. And sometimes it's too easy to block someone by mistake. It's always worthwhile checking the blocked senders list every once in a while (Tools/Message Rules/Blocked Senders List).
Liz writes: Hi Ed, Is it possible for me to create an email address for my son on our home PC as well as our existing email address which I use? If so, please tell me step by step how to do it, or does it require help from Actrix remotely?
Hi Liz, Setting up a separate e-mail address is something you can do yourself, though the help desk are always there on 0800-228749 if you need help. All Actrix plans except CyberByte One allow for some amount of extra e-mail addresses free.
The first thing you need to do is log into My Actrix on the homepage using the main user id and password for your account. Once inside, click Manage My Account, and then Add/Edit Email Addresses. This section of the site will show you how many extra email addresses you're entitled to and how many you've used.
If you choose an e-mail address that is already taken, the form will tell you so and ask you to make another choice..
That's it as far as creating the new e-mail address, and it should start working on the Actrix system within 15-20 minutes.
Next you need to set this up on your own computer. If your son has his own Windows log in, you can open up his version of Outlook Express and add the account as follows:
If your son doesn't have his own log in and will use your version of Outlook Express, you can do exactly the same to add his to the e-mail accounts it is already checking, and now, when you open a new e-mail in Outlook Express, you'll have a dropdown box at the top so that you can choose which e-mail address you want to send from.
I hope that helps.
Helen writes, Hi Ed thanks for the tip about the email box. I was having the same problem and now have it sorted. I have a question. Is there a way to read my email offline which I have put into a folder? I have been sent some really nice ones which I would like to look at without having to go on line. I am not computer savvy so nothing too complicated please. Really enjoy your news letters. Thanks, Helen.
Hi Helen, Hmmm, normally, if you're using Outlook Express, any pictures attached to downloaded messages should appear okay for you even when you're offline because they've already been downloaded to you. If the pictures appear okay when you're online, but are replaced with little red crosses when you're offline, then the images aren't actually attached to the e-mails, but are being linked to somewhere else on the web. Because you're not online, the e-mail can't connect to the image in order to download and display it.
One thing you could do in cases like this is save the images to a folder on your hard drive so that you can look at them later. Next time you're online, right-click on the image and then left click on "Save As..." A box will come up allowing you to browse to or create a folder to save the images in. By default the box will probably come up already open at My Documents. If so, you can just save the images there, or you may want to double-clcik a folder called My Pictures which should also be there.
To find these later, right-click on your Start button and then left click on Explore. Search the folder list on the left for My Documents, and you should be able to find the images. To display them just double click them. Windows will automatically display them in whatever is set up as your default picture viewer.
I hope that wasn't too complicated!
Interesting sites (Click the picture links to access the sites)
Please note: Actrix supplies links to these sites for your interest and possible use. We cannot endorse or take any responsibility for their contents.
Got a site you think would be neat to share with other readers? Click here to e-mail and let me know!
http://blufr.com/ - With the tagline: "Bruising your ego one bluf at a time," I thought this had to be good. It's quite simple. You're presented with a series of statements and you have to choose whether you're being bluffed or not. As you go, you get an indication of the percentage of people that fell for each bluff, and you get a running score (which is a whole lot better than a running sore).
|Japanese Cigarette Etiquette
www.jti.co.jp/sstyle/manners/ad/change/gallery/index.html - Don't smoke in a crowd, coats are expensive. The cool cowboy flicks his cigarette butt into the street, but he lives in an old movie. Inhaled, burned and thrown away; if it were anything but a cigarette, it would be crying. These are all poetic (almost haiku-like) messages on Japanese signs about smoking behaviour. The site is in Japanese, but the signs are in English.
|The World's Healthiest Foods
www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php - Here's a list of 130 foods that can serve as the basis of your healthiest way of eating. Each one in the list links to an article about the foods and what is healthy about them. Foods have only been included if they are whole foods, nutrient dense, affordable and readily available. You see, the Interesting Sites section isn't just about sites such as Cats that Look Like Hitler!
http://www.billsgames.com/brain-teasers/ - Do you remember these? What does GESG SEGG GEGS GGES mean? Of course the answer is scrambled eggs! What about "Y Y guy guy"? That means "wise guys". There are heaps of these at the site and I was wrong when I thought I could remember them all from my childhood. There are links to all sorts of other puzzles and mazes on the left of the page.
http://zorigami.free.fr/odd_watches/ - It seems that historically, and even recently, there have been all sorts of different ways of presenting a watch face to render time. Some of them look pretty confusing, but I guess our three-hand system would be to someone used to something else. The Braille watch is interesting. I wonder how it changes.
|E-mail Reminder Service
www.anythingforyou.co.nz/ - Anything for You, the Kiwi site designed to help you get anything you need from, or want done in New Zealand, has just launched a free e-mail reminder service. You first have to create an account at the site (free and quick) to get your own personal reminder table. Add the necessary details and Anything for You will e-mail you seven days before the event. The system is continuous so once you have entered your important dates you will receive reminders every year without having to do anything else.
|Inner Geek Test
www.innergeek.us/geek-test.html - Just how geeky are you, and do you enjoy filling out online forms about yourself? If so, that's already a bad sign. This extensive test will give you a score as to just how well (or badly depending on your point of view) you rate on the geek scale. The whole page is in monochrome green too. Whether that phases you should also be one of the questions...
Remove yourself from marketing call lists
www.marketing.org.nz/cms/registration/2995 - At this page of the New Zealand Marketing Association's website, you can have your contact details added to their Name Removal Service. This will reduce the volume of unsolicited mail, phone calls and faxes you receive. There are a couple of provisos. It doesn't apply to businesses and it only stops contact from companies that are members of the New Zealand Marketing Association. It receives endorsement from Consumer.
|Fake Facts and Great Facts
www.livescience.com/bestimg/result.php?back=myths_gumballs_03.jpg&cat=myths - I knew my mother was lying about the gum taking seven years to digest! I wonder what else she lied to me about! Here's a collection of the top 20 myths we have always tended to believe. It's a shame there's only 20, but don't despair. Here's a page full of interesting facts that are supposed to be true: http://www.greatfacts.com/.
|What are the odds?
www.funny2.com/odds.htm - There's good news and bad news. The good news that the odds of getting haemorrhoids are just 25:1. Those aren't bad odds. The bad news is that there's a 117:1 chance of being on a plane with a drunk pilot. I don't like those odds one bit. But then again, who knows whether this stuff is true or not anyway. Truth isn't what Interesting Sites is all about.
Internet guru relishes NZ connections: Catherine Harris talks to a low-key internet guru about his intriguing career and his links to New Zealand. Click here for more.
Kiwis turn to internet when choosing holidays: When it comes to choosing holiday destinations and MP3 players, New Zealanders turn to the internet. Click here for more.
Kiwis create website that pays you to save energy: A New Zealand company has applied to patent Celsias.com, the world's first online community that allows regions, businesses or community groups to be paid for reducing the carbon emissions from their everyday energy use. Click here for more.
Schools may end up being cyber: Classrooms of the future will have computers in place of books and children logging on from home PCs for interactive lessons with overseas pupils. Click here for more.
MPs join internet coalition: Labour, National, United Future and NZ First have put aside their differences to form a non-partisan grand coalition to teach MPs about the internet and discuss implications of new technology. Click here for more.
Google accused of harbouring NZ racists: Racist blogs targeting minority groups in New Zealand and Australia are springing up on the web, but Google's Blogger, the service some are hosted on, refuses to take them offline, says an anti-racism lobby group. Click here for more.
PayPal Settles Suits For $5.2M: Online payment specialist PayPal agreed to pay $5.2 million to settle two class-action suits and pledged to better explain how it protects users' financial data. Click here for more.
The growing world of Google Earth: "Seeing your home is usually the first thing people do," Jones told Reuters in an interview in Tokyo. "As we add more local data, like hotels, there's a second wave of interest from those who want to use this in useful ways, like plan trips." Click here for more.
Gambling Sites Folding U.S. Hand: Before President Bush evens signs a new law aimed at curbing Internet gambling, online gaming companies are preparing to pull out of the lucrative U.S. market. Click here for more.
Online newspaper readership grows: The average number of monthly visitors to US newspaper websites rose by nearly a third in the first half of 2006, a study released today said, though print readership at some larger US newspapers fell. Click here for more.
Geekspeak still baffles web users: Britons are increasingly tech-savvy but are still bamboozled by tech jargon. Click here for more.
Rise of the web's social network: Since its beginning, the web has often been used as a tool to meet new people, but in recent years the interaction between web-users has grown dramatically, spawning a new generation of networking sites. Click here for more.
Warning over 'broken up' internet: The internet could one day be broken up into separate networks around the world, a leading light in the development of the net has warned. Click here for more.
Anatomy of a spam e-mail: A daily chore of modern life for many is the morning trawl through a full inbox deleting spam email. But just where does it all come from and why do spammers use bizarre text, names and images in their emails? Click here for more.
Overseas Indians turn to Web for festival prayers: Thousands of Indians living abroad are logging on to religious Web sites in the run-up to the main Hindu festival of Diwali, courtesy of a stream of portals offering services like online praying and blessings. Click here for more.
Can Internet communication sustain us?: For some, it would be unthinkable -- certain social suicide. But Gabe Henderson is finding freedom in a recent decision: He canceled his MySpace account. Click here for more.
US politicians caught on internet candid cameras: Want to catch a senator napping during a congressional hearing? Or letting a possible racial slur slip out at a campaign rally? Click here for more.
Keeping your inbox in shape: Is your e-mail bursting out of your inbox? Feeling cc'd into submission? Here's how to reclaim your life. Click here for more.
File sharers facing legal action: More than 8,000 alleged file sharers are facing legal action, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Click here for more.
Internet user admits 'web-rage': Paul Gibbons, 47, tracked down John Jones using details obtained online after the pair exchanged insults in an internet chatroom, a court heard. He travelled 70 miles to Mr Jones' home in Clacton, Essex, and beat him up with a pickaxe handle in December 2005. Click here for more.
Internet users click on addiction: Christchurch man Jason Riley clocks up 40 hours a week on the internet – joining a growing number of people addicted to cyberspace. Click here for more.
Top 20 search engine typos revealed: Hollywood starlets and female music artists dominate the list of most commonly misspelled internet searches, say data recently released by No. 2 search engine Yahoo. Click here for more.
Websites promote anorexia: A proliferation of websites promoting anorexia as a lifestyle choice is horrifying dietitians. Click here for more.
Instant Messaging Attacks on The Rise: "It seems like hackers go on holiday for the summer and come back with fresh attacks in the fall," Chris Boyd, director of malware research at FaceTime Security Labs, told internetnews.com. Click here for more.
Security fears raised at conference: Concerns over the latest hi-tech security vulnerabilities have been highlighted at a conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Click here for more.
How Insecure Do You Think You Are?: A new Cisco sponsored global study of 1,000 remote workers indicates that IT workers may well be engaged in more insecure activities than they are willing to admit. Click here for more.
How safe is Web 2.0?: Twenty-five years ago Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn made decisions as to how the Internet Protocol worked, specifying the ways packets of data were made and sent over the network. They could have done it differently and indeed many other people working on networks at the time did do it differently. Click here for more.
Virus-infected email hits rock bottom: The move to more targeted Trojan attacks as opposed to mass mailing worms left last month's virus charts almost static. Click here for more.
SpamThru Trojan bundles own virus scanner: The SpamThru Trojan attempts to reserve control of compromised machines by blocking infection by other forms of malware using a pirated copy of a commercial anti-virus scanner. Click here for more.
IE 7 Has the Best Anti-Phishing Filter: Was it a Microsoft sponsored study? Sure, but the author promises it is fair and transparent. Click here for more.
Microsoft to buy business advice from Kiwi firm: A Christchurch company has signed a six-figure deal with Microsoft to supply advice for small businesses that will be posted on the software giant's websites around the world. Click here for more.
IE market share: What's going on?: Recent high-profile security problems with Internet Explorer have done little to dent its market share - or maybe not, according to conflicting reports on web browser use. Click here for more.
Microsoft Planning Life After IE7: You won't have to wait another five years to see a new browser from Microsoft. That's the message from Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 developers. Click here for more.
Microsoft's browser gets upgraded: Microsoft has made Internet Explorer 7 (IE 7) available to the general public. Click here for more.
IE 7's First Security Hole: Well, that was quick. Click here for more.
Better Windows security keeps Apple safer: Gartner: Research group Gartner has said that Mac OS X users are now safer from a mass attack -- such as Blaster on Windows - than they were two years ago, partly because Microsoft has closed so many holes in its ubiquitous platform. Click here for more.
Firefox Not Really Free?: The Firefox logo is trademarked, so Debian doesn't consider it to be Free and will not include it as part of its distribution. Mozilla claims that using the Firefox name without the official branding is a trademark violation. Click here for more.
Eudora morphs into Thunderbird: Qualcomm is to stop selling Eudora, the venerable email client, and is hand over development to the Mozilla Foundation. Click here for more.
Firefox 3.0 Already?: Mozilla is pushing ahead on work and planning for its next two major browser releases, Firefox 3.0 and 4.0. Firefox 2.0 was just released yesterday. Click here for more.
Germany menaced by 50m insect: Mutant earwig rampages across Google Earth. Click here for more.
Each month we dredge through our archives to pull out stories from the Actrix Newsletter of exactly five years ago. Sometimes these stories will show just how much the net has changed in such a short time, and sometimes they'll be included just because they're interesting.
Bin Laden bank hacked - hacker: A world-reknowned hacker-turned-playboy, German businessman Kim Schmitz, has claimed that a group of hackers convened by himself has hacked a Sudanese bank and stolen details of accounts held by suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden and his organisation, Al-Qaeda. Click here for more.
This version of Nimda worm is 'new and improved': Some anti-virus companies are warning PC users and system administrators to be on the lookout for a new incarnation of the nefarious Nimda worm, which someone has tweaked to improve its performance. Click here for more.
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